Steve Bruce hit back at his critics and warned that his Newcastle side “are not going to be entertaining” as they fight to retain Premier League status this season.
Bruce will be under more scrutiny after Newcastle’s winless run extended to 10 games with a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
Newcastle are still seven points above the relegation zone, but after losing five games in a row and failing to score in four of them, there are concerns about the direction they are heading in.
Bruce has been under pressure and although it is thought his job is safe, many questions have been asked of him.
Even so, he believes he has seen enough from his players to have confidence they will not be sucked into a relegation battle.
He told Sky Sports: “Unfortunately we’ve gifted them a goal and after that it was difficult.
“There were large parts of it I was pleased about. Certainly the addition of Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser.
“I have seen enough to be encouraged. Yes we have to accept defeat but there was enough there to work on.
“That is always the difficult part of the Premier League and we understand that, we have found it difficult to score a goal but I was encouraged, especially when those two got on the pitch.
“I have seen enough in the squad, having them two back and then a couple more. We are not as injury ravaged. The big players in the team who can score and create a goal for us are getting back.
“We are not alone, there are other teams in difficult runs, it is how we handle it. Keep working hard and that is the only way you will change it.”
🗣 – "I've seen enough to be encouraged."
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 23, 2021
Bruce insists he’s not alone
While there is a lot of pressure on Bruce at present, he insists there are others in similar situations. With that in mind, he remains confident that anything can still happen this season.
However, he admitted that his side will not necessarily open up and play attractive football.
He continued: “We are halfway. We have been stuck on 19 points for the past six games I think. We are in a difficult period but I have seen enough of the team to try and finish where we did last year or even above it.
“We are in the Premier League and we all know what it is. When we are on a run like we are you come under the pump as a result.
“I am not alone, there is a lot in that situation. It is the Premier League and it is how you handle it.
“I have been criticised for everything. I don’t necessarily agree with it. We are not going to be entertaining and open because if we go that way I don’t think we will have enough.”